Friday, March 25, 2016

the goal? to walk, to look, to eat, to shop if that is what has to be, to eat, to walk... in other words -- whatever the day may bring

Perhaps I would not be happy with too many days like this one, where nothing need be done, no demands are placed on the hours before me, no imperative set, no destination articulated. But my oh my, when they come, interspersed with the busy weeks I'm used to, they are in fact spectacular.

There was a wetness to the morning, but that was fine -- I started out late (damn photo loading) and indeed, by the time I got to my standard breakfast cafe (les Editeurs), I felt that just one pain au chocolat and a cafe creme would do -- it felt not too far from the lunch hour.


I could, I suppose, grumble at the occasional sprinkle outside -- if you want to see gray, you're going to see gray...


... but in truth, it never was more than a sprinkle -- not even enough to warrant an umbrella. And the temperatures climbed to the fifties F (upwards of 10C) and back home, Ed tells me he woke to trees covered with a thin layer of ice, so I consider myself lucky indeed to be on this side of the ocean today.

I popped into a kid store and made up for an absence of color outside with a fistful of color inside.


And I suppose I should include this photo of a rather colorfully attired woman. You don't see many so over the top on the left bank, but nor does she especially stand out. Funny how that works.


And speaking of popping in, I guess I should note that I popped into the Luxembourg Gardens as well. Not for long, but enough to take in the greening of the spaces there.


Just outside, I ran into countless high school kids out for lunch break. They're never easy to photograph -- they move so quickly! -- but here's a small group waiting to cross the street. At this age, they break from the fashions of their youth and the fashions of adulthood and indulge in an interim period where they're all in the uniform of choice -- either leggings (with or without a skirt) or jeans.


Oh, well, to be complete, I must admit, I visited a clothing store for adults as well.


I don't typically buy clothes here for myself, but I have some days that may require a fresh approach to a wardrobe in May and the clerk was lovely in making me feel like everything I tried on was meant to be.

And now it's time for lunch. Where to? Oh where to??

My motto today was  -- keep it cheap. In this corner of Paris, one possibility is the Cafe Madame. It really is a humble place where no one looks especially tony or well coiffed.


They don't have a big menu (which is good) -- just a few sandwiches and crepes, but it's a fine place to eat a Croque Madame, because they use good bread and they don't overwhelm your plate. And so I have my last lunch here much the same way as I had it on my first day, accompanied by a glass of rose and a bottle of bubbly water, though the meal today was better and half the tab of the Cafe du Metro one (of last week).


As I prepared to leave, two young women sat right next to me and I was oh so tempted to stay and listen in. My sister, who is a language whiz, says the best way to get more fluent in any language is to listen all you can to others who are fluent. Still, the day was turning rather pretty and I was happy to be up and out again.


A couple of shop displays for you. First, one from a chocolate store -- it's a very creative if somewhat abstract chicken. See her yellow feet up in the air?


Then, I went into a bookstore and found this display of very young children's books on eating. I almost bought one for Snowdrop, but children's literature here often runs toward the macabre (wolves eating the protagonist bunny, monsters coming to the table to eat your food, resulting in your hunger and possible demise -- that kind of thing). Still, it should be noted that training on eating starts early.


Okay, the sun is really coming out more often now. Ask her, the woman on the bike.


It feels so lovely and dramatic, too...


... that I think I must go down to the river. When the sky is beautiful, you really do need to stand over the Seine to see it at its best.


On the way, I pop into Monoprix, which I guess one might compare to a Target back home. Finally! A dress that looks like it can take rough play! I put it on the conveyor belt.


And let me include this photo of bread baking, to remind us how much French people love their long baguette.


I then went into one last store, where, among other things, I looked at spring scarves. This is where you separate the sheep from the goats: Americans don't know how to wear scarves and French are born knowing what loops to make and what folds to spread and tuck in which direction. I'm positive it's genetic, though it's not been studied, of course.

You tie it like this, then fan it out in the style of Yves St Laurent, she explains, never once understanding that the minute I go home and try this, my hands will stick to the cloth, the fabric will bunch and in the end look like it's been run through the washing machine seconds ago.


Well, no matter. She felt good, I felt good, resulting in a purchase, of course, which probably made her feel even better and it made me feel better, at least until the moment when I sit down to do the accounting once I get home.

And this is when I remind you that tomorrow I am traveling home. There's an evening in Paris to recall and a whole day of travel to discuss, but I'll leave that for tomorrow's post. Until then!


  1. I enjoy your people-watching and I'm so interested in watching the teenagers. They are so pure in their way. I'm not talking about the virginal, nor about the blithely apolitical, that's not how I think of teenagers, for sure. I'm talking about the wide-open horizon that they see ahead. And yet they live so immersed in the moment.
    As you're doing, this day. Way to be.

  2. Ahhh! Your breakfast, my breakfast. A proper pain au chocolat. I had the most unbelievable pain au chocolate last fall. They were maybe a scant 3" long. Maybe. Maybe not. The chocolate was no more than a chocolate chip poked on each end. I will not be in France long enough this year to set a new record on consecutive days of pain au chocolate. I'm afraid it might be my last trip there. Beautiful pics of all the good stuff in Paris. Hope your flight home is on time. There are storms heading east across the US, but maybe they'll have passed.

  3. Thank you for all the Paris entries. I am getting totally pumped for September!!


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